When you walk into the Black Dragon Karate School in Sulphur, Oklahoma you might be surprised to find a very quiet martial arts class. Taking over and teaching the ladies over 55 that are deaf using sign language would be one miss Elaine Guilloz.
Guilloz started her martial arts journey at the age of fifty-five when Sensei Don Black opened his doors to her. Growing up during the 60’s and 70’s as a deaf child, her special need was seen as a handicap. Elaine was “put down for being deaf and not being able to read”, and was seen as not being able to do anything for herself. At that time her favorite show was “King Fu,” and she had a small collection of books and things on martial arts.
To deter her from what seemed an impossible dream, her parents took all things martial arts away from her and burned them. Elaine spent many years with an “I can’t” attitude ingrained in her. But Elaine never lost her passion. After being on her own for several years, Elaine started her journey to become the person she was “always meant to be.” She learned to drive a car at thirty, and when that became too easy, she tackled driving a 40-foot school bus. She keeps strong in her faith and quotes Phillippians when she states, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.”
Elaine, now fifty-eight, has been training under Sensei Don Black for three years. She started fulfilling her childhood dream by learning karate. She now trains karate three times a week, and takes Judo at the Ada Judo Club in Oklahoma twice a week. She attends Girls in Gis events while she looks for a place to help her expand her love of martial arts to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. To facilitate learning, she has also been teaching Sensei how to sign, and helps teach the older women at her school how to break fall. Elaine says that she want “prevent them breaking their arms or hips. Older people need to protect themselves too.”
Her strong desire and heart of gold keep her going, and influence those around her to try martial arts as well. Elaine personifies what it means to be a girl in a gi. No matter what you’re situation may be, it is never too late to start.
Girls in Gis staff writer
“Ariana is an English teacher out of Austin, Texas. She loves coffee, wearing skirts, and trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu out of Gracie Humaita- Austin”